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Lunch break

The fine folks at TED hosted an informative and nuanced debate on whether we need to embrace nuclear energy. Worth a listen:

By Ezra Klein  |  June 18, 2010; 12:38 PM ET
 
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Comments

Why can't they just build a bunch of nuke stations right around yucca mountain and transport the electricity across the nation instead of the waste?

With all those new jobs, I would think Nevadan's would have no problem voting aye for this kind of plan.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 18, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I work for an energy company that has Nuclear, natural gas, coal, and wind generating capabilities. We are also in the process of adding solar generating capabilities to our portfolio. The guy who was promoting wind and solar misrepresented many facts about the benefits of those energy sources. He said that the concept of base loading was irrelevant. It is only irrelevant if you don't need electricity 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Renewable energy is not reliable enough. Then there is the cost of generation. Coal costs us 2.4 cents/kwh to generate, gas is 3.6, nuclear is 5.3 and wind is 24.6. This cost includes the initial capital costs to build the facilities and the ongoing maintenance and fuel costs. The only reason we have diversified into alternatives like wind and solar is because some states are now mandating it and it is also good PR. Our annual report has windmills on it so that liberals will buy our stock and not be so resentful when we have to run power lines through their back yards. Also the state regulators allow us to pass on the additional costs associated with renewables to our customers, so our profits stay the same.

The reason that I know liberals do not really believe in global warming is their resistance to expanding nuclear power. It is the only viable way to drastically lower our CO2 emissions and maintain our current way of life. If a person told me they were drowning and I threw them a life preserver, and they pushed it away saying that they wanted a different solution, then I would know that they are not really drowning. Nuclear power is a life preserver and liberals reject it. Therefore they do not seriously believe that the planet is in peril. I think that they are using the concept of climate change as a way to generate tax revenues that they can then funnel into their pet projects.

Posted by: cummije5 | June 18, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a misconception that "liberals" are against nuclear power. Like the pro speaker said, the vast majority of climate scientists are pro-nuclear.

If you're anti-nuclear, you're pro-coal. It's as simple as that.

Posted by: mschol17 | June 18, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

cummije's post attacks liberals in typical neocon fashion, therefore, I would have to question his sincerity in any analysis he provides.

Most people don't know the facts surrounding nuclear power or clean energy, or which of those two debaters on TED are more correct or wrong on their data.

Most people do understand that a nuclear accident has the potential to make the current gulf gusher disaster look like a picnic.

The people of Nevada aren't liberal, yet I believe polls show they are strongly against using yucca mountain as a storage place for the nation's nuclear waste. They ostensibly disfavor yucca because of safety reasons, so it is a stretch to blame liberals for antipathy for nuclear power.

There are plenty of Republicans who oppose controversial things in their backyards. Jeb Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger are two examples.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 18, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Lomillialor -- let's continue to vilify nuclear power for another 20 years and burn oil in the interim. To hell with all energy sources -- oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear -- let's just live with [carbon-producing] fire. Burn the homes of Republicans and Independents! Burn them, burn them all!

Just think how much useful heat was produced from the fires at Auschwitz: if we could only implement a health care system as effective, we might find the final solution to all of our energy problems.

Lomillialor, had you only been around fifty years ago, think of what society might be!

Posted by: rmgregory | June 18, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I encourage everyone to tally the total deaths resulting from burning coal and compare that number to all deaths resulting from nuclear plants, bombs, and accidents. One is a lot bigger than the other.

Posted by: mschol17 | June 18, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I am not villifying nuclear power. Nothing I said can be construed as villifying nuclear power.

I am inclined to support it.

My earlier comment simply reflected some basic facts on the perception and dangers of nuclear power. I am simply the messenger, so if you don't like the message, blame the Nevadan's (and others) who won't support it.

I enjoyed the video, and would love to see more lenghty versions of it, with more substantiation of the presented facts, etc..

I've heard some NPR interviews about the subject, and it always seems there is at least some small set of facts that both sides of the issue disagree on. And this makes it hard to figure out whether nuke power is safe or not or the cheapest way to invest in our future. Even the two debaters in the above video seemed to have disagreements about certain basic facts.

P.S. rmgregory, I suspect you shed crocodile tears about our addiction to "burning oil". I suspect you aren't for drilling fewer offshore wells or for not drilling in ANWR and not for better mileage standards and not for shifting incentives from oil/coal to clean energy technologies, and so on. I also suspect you cheered Bush when he gutted the MMS and FERC and the SEC and so on.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 18, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

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